Quest Software, Inc. has introduced a beta program for Toad for Cloud Databases, a new data access and management tool for non-relational data stored in cloud databases, also known as NoSQL databases. Toad for Cloud Databases is intended to help users unlock data stored in the cloud by using the familiar SQL language or Toad's popular visual query and data access capabilities. Users can query and report on non-relational data, migrate data in both cloud and relational databases from one to the other, and create queries that combine the two.
With Toad for Cloud Databases, Quest is putting NoSQL databases within reach of traditional relational database developers and administrators, and allowing non-programmers to extract and analyze the data, explains Guy Harrison, director of research and development, Quest Software. The tool takes something very familiar to the database professional - Toad - and makes it the vehicle for exploring and exploiting these new data stores. "Essentially, it gives you SQL access to the NoSQL databases and lets you join and move data between SQL databases and NoSQL databases with an aim to help you get started with cloud databases or to extract data out of them once you have got an application running on top of them."
Emerging non-relational platforms are compelling options for organizations looking to overcome the cost and scalability limitations of relational database systems, according t Quest, but currently, complex programming is required to access data stored in the cloud, and this creates significant barriers for users who want to build applications or use the data for business intelligence.
The challenge posed now by cloud databases is similar to the one posed by object-oriented databases years ago, says Harrison. "When object-oriented databases started coming up in the 90s one of the problems was that they never really offered the business any real way to get the data back out. It was all geared towards the programmer - their APIs, their objects - and it neglected the information value of the data. The data is not just there for the application to manipulate, it is also there for business to use to make decisions and forward planning - and all the reasons that business intelligence is such a hot topic in the industry. And, at the moment, the NoSQL databases are in that situation as well. They offer something for the application developer that the relational database can't offer - but for the business that want to get the data and turn it into information, they are really lacking, and so we think we are taking a first important step to closing that gap."
Toad for Cloud Databases seeks to break through the roadblock of complexity, providing query building and reporting capabilities familiar to Toad users, plus migration and management for developers who want to experiment with the cloud - all wrapped into a SQL-based interface. As with all Toads, notes Harrison, if users don't want to write SQL there is a modeling tool that lets them drag and drop the tables and columns and it will construct the SQL for them, and the low-level API calls to get the data out will be constructed. "It is very easy."
And, going beyond that, it has the capability to move data between older style databases and the new-style databases so it can connect to any ODBC databases like Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, DB2, Sybase, Postgres and users can upload their data into Amazon SimpleDB, Azure Table services and Hbase. "The thinking with that is that when people get started with the cloud, they usually want to copy some of their existing data in, and we give them that capability," says Harrison. "We even let them write SQL queries that mix data between two databases so if you are concerned for instance that your Oracle databases and your Azure databases don't have the same products table, you can write a query that joins the two tables and displays anything that is out of reference or out of sync."
The current beta supports Amazon SimpleDB, Microsoft Azure Table services, Apache HBase, and any Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)-enabled relational database. The second beta release will add full support for Apache Cassandra, as well as Apache Hadoop through Hive. In addition, Quest has an Eclipse-based version of Toad for Cloud Databases on its roadmap for a future release.
For more information on Toad for Cloud Databases or to download the beta, go here.